World Buskers Festival

Busking out all over the world


Showbusiness couple Sam and Felicity Wills measure their milestones in Christchurch busker festivals.

The Boy with Tape on his Face star got engaged to his singer wife at the World Buskers Festival in 2008, they married in Christchurch the next year and now their son will celebrate his first birthday at the festival.

The Canterbury performer and his British wife, who are based in England, have brought their son, Rafferty Basil Danger Wills, to Christchurch for his first World Buskers Festival.

The couple both have shows at the festival this year. Sam Wills has returned with international sell-out show The Boy with Tape on his Face for the first time in two years and Felicity Wills, who performs as Lili la Scala, has bought her solo show, Songs to Make you Smile, to New Zealand for the first time.

Sam Wills said it was great to celebrate his son's first birthday with his Christchurch family.

"They saw him when he was 3 months old, but he has a lot more personality now. He is a real little man now," he said.

It has been another hugely successful year for Sam Wills, with the Tape Face show selling out the Edinburgh Fringe Festival once again, a 28-show run in London's West End and a deal to release his work on DVD.

He also got to work with his childhood hero, magician Paul Daniels, in the staging of a one-night special at the 1400-seat Palace Theatre in London. The Cornucopia show was Sam Wills' "version of a variety show".
"It was amazing to work with Paul Daniels. One of the reasons I do what I do is because I was given a Paul Daniels magic set when I was a kid," he said.

"The weirdest thing about the West End run was the whole lights and billboard on the frontage, although I had to share it with Sooty. It was two silent stars sharing the bill."

Felicity Wills has also found great success touring her Songs to Make you Smile show around Europe, along with hosting and creating Another F****** Variety Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

"Edinburgh was fantastic. We had a bigger venue, better production values and higher profile acts. It sold out every weekend," she said.

But Sam Wills has even bigger plans for the year ahead, taking his show to the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal in a bid to break into the American market.

"The cool thing about Canada is I get to start all over again with the first show in 100-seat venues."

He is also in the process of writing the third Tape Face show, which he expects to unveil in a couple of years.

Busking out all over the world

© Fairfax NZ News

Image credit: Mat Ricardo